Devils get dropped, now they might shop

The trade market finally is open, but these Devils need not worry. They’re safe unless someone wants players who don’t score.

They Devils have managed 10 regulation goals, including an empty-netter, in their past eight games. Even with Martin Brodeur in net, that’s a losing formula.

After falling 3-1 to the Canadiens in Newark last night, the Devils stand 3-5 in those eight games as they visit the Islanders tonight. No relief there. They were shut out 4-0 at Nassau Coliseum on Monday.

The injuries they ignored the first half of the season finally have caught up to the Devils, and even playing it tight didn’t help last night.

So the call, more like a plea, went out from Jacques Lemaire for someone other than the members of the Z Line to connect.

“Anyone. I would enjoy anyone who could get a goal — a defenseman, Marty, Scott Stevens,” Lemaire said. “It’s an issue when, right now, we have one line that is scoring.”

Trade rumbles have erupted, led by the opening of the auction for Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk. Though the Devils and Rangers have been mentioned as possible destinations for the star winger, it is believed that they haven’t jumped in yet. The Blackhawks are said to have shown the most interest, although there still is plenty of time before the March 3 deadline.

In addition, the Ducks have turned serious about getting something for defenseman Scott Niedermayer, after saying “never” talk earlier. The Devils stand as the most obvious suitor, but Chicago is another team Anaheim figures will be in the hunt. Injured Duck Saku Koivu likely is to be another rental of interest to the Devils.

Calgary scout Ron Sutter was back for a second straight game in Newark, after accompanying brother and Flames GM Darryl Sutter at Wednesday’s 2-0 Devils triumph over Florida. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf is the name being bandied amid rumors that Calgary wants to do something significant. Even Jarome Iginla doesn’t appear untouchable, and Flames coach Brent Sutter, formerly the Devils’ coach, surely would have a shopping list of Devils he likes.

Perhaps the only untouchable Devil without a no-trade clause would be Zach Parise.

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